Christian Human Rights Lawyer Ni Yulan the 2011 Tulip Rights Recipient

Yesterday it was announced that Ni Yulan, a Chinese Christian human rights lawyer, is this year's winner of the Tulip Rights award.

The Dutch government is the organization behind the 2011 Human Rights Defenders Tulip award. China Aid Association and Christian Solidarity Worldwide previously nominated Ni Yulan for the honor.

"This is a great day for human rights defenders in China and hopefully it will lead to the unconditional release of Ni Yulan," said China Aid founder and president Bob Fu. "We thank the Dutch Government and our partner organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide for making this award happen"

"It is a sign that the international community will not forget China's brave human rights defenders," he went on to say. "Hopefully, one day, China will not imprison those peacefully working for human rights."

According to the website for the award, the prize "is intended as a tribute to a man or woman who has shown exceptional courage defending and promoting the rights of their fellow citizens." The 2011 award ceremony is planned for early next year.

The announcement of this year's recipient was delayed by almost two weeks. The award is usually presented on International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10.

An independent judging committee made Ni’s selection as the 2011 award winner in late November. However, Ni's impending trial complicated matters. In order to protect her from any further legal trouble, her daughter and lawyer requested that the announcement of her win be put on hold until further notice.

Ni has been a lawyer since 1986. She has already served two prison terms in the past. While in police custody, she was brutally tortured by prison officials. She now remains permanently disabled and now requires crutches or a wheelchair to get around.

Throughout her life, Ni has suffered due to her activist efforts. In 2001, she aided her neighbors in fighting to save their homes or claim compensation. This was a result of the mandatory demolition scheduled her Beijing neighborhood, in advance of the 2008 Olympic Games.

This past April, she was again taken into police custody. In May, she was formally arrested in May and charged with reportedly "creating a disturbance."

Despite the hardships derived from her efforts, Ni Yulan has continued to fight for human rights. She will now be recognized for her efforts by winning the 2011 Tulip Rights award.

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